Interview: Mishka


When I was a teenager I worked as a lifeguard at a local water park — paid to sit in a cold pool on hot days while listening to the music playing on the park’s sound system. It was during those summers where I was first introduced to Sirius XM, and more specifically, Radio Margaritaville. No other station on earth captures the elements of a laid back summer more than Radio Margaritaville which broadened my musical taste to include surf rock, jam bands, and reggae music.

If I never worked all of those hot summer days at that water park I would have never been introduced to reggae music and artists like Mishka. For those of you that are not familiar with the Hawaiian reggae singer/songwriter, he creates beautifully meaningful songs about love and social justice that can only be experienced, not explained. He has been recording music since 1998 and has performed with acts such as Dirty Heads, Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, The Roots, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band & many more. Back in 2012, Mishka became a crowd funding success story. Thanks to Kickstarter and his fans, Mishka successfully funded his latest album, The Journey.

I was lucky enough to speak with Mishka before he started his East Coast tour which lands him at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Monday, March 31 for the venue’s Happy Mondays concerts series. We talked about his new record, working with Jimmy Buffet and what he has planned for the rest of the year.


Pop-Break: You have been making music for over 15 years. What keeps you motivated to keep recording new material and touring all over the world?

Mishka: The love of music, and the love of playing music, internal inspiration i.e. thoughts and emotions, and external inspiration i.e. musical influences, other musicians. It all keeps it interesting.

PB: When you worked on your last EP, Ocean is My Potion, you recorded it in Key West, Florida at Shrimp Boat Studios. What was it like to have work with Jimmy Buffet?

Mishka: Well in reality I didn’t get the chance to work with him in the studio, the EP was recorded there at Shrimp Boat, but the tracks with Jimmy were done by sending files back and forth, still it was a great experience, the studio and crew there were really good and just to put out a song together with Jimmy was really special.


PB: You are going back on tour and hitting the East Coast. For someone who lives in Hawaii are you ready for the cold weather?

Mishka: I can cope and I have warm clothes but it’s always a shock to the body

PB: Your music appeals to both smaller intimate venues and large amphitheaters. Do you prefer one over the other?

Mishka: No, I just like places that sound good… good acoustics and good sound systems

PB: When you aren’t making new music or getting ready for another tour what do you do in your free time?

Mishka: Spending time with my wife and kids.. just practical stuff keeping it all together, when I get a little free time I love windsurfing still, and trying to take time for some yoga and running…keeps me feeling good.

PB: What can you tell us about your latest release, The Journey? What was the inspiration for the record?

Mishka: No one particular inspiration, always the love of the creator and the creative process… but this album is a collection of songs old and new. a big part of this album was the Kickstarter campaign that I did to fund it.. so the fans a re a big part of the inspiration on this.

PB: What can we expect from Mishka for the rest of 2014? Will you be playing at any upcoming music festivals?

Mishka: Yes, festivals and music halls… keep watching for any show updates.

Mishka will perform on Monday, March 31st at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey as a part of the venue’s Happy Mondays Concert Series. For ticket information click here.

Al Mannarino is the associate editor and photographer for Pop Break. He is also host of the News Over Brews Podcast, Loot Care Unboxed, Backstage Break, and the producer of Behind the Brews. He graduated Rowan University with a degree in Radio/TV/Film & History. When he isn’t writing he is either trying to build his own TARDIS or taking a nap. Follow him on Twitter: @almannarino. His photo website is:

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